Rea: ‘Target is much more than fight for the podium, I want to win a race’

After a disastrous Sunday in Phillip Island, six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea is hoping to get back amongst the podium fight in Mandalika, although winning remains his main objective.
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Phillip Island 2023

Second to Alvaro Bautista during Race 1 of the 2023 WorldSBK season-opener, Rea had little say in the podium fight during the Superpole Race and Race 2 after finishing seventh and eighth. 

The Kawasaki rider lacked performance from the beginning of both races and was instead losing grip as both races went on. 

"It’s been a tough week leaving Australia without the points we set out to gain," said Rea. "Everything was going quite smoothly up until race day. Hard to draw any big conclusions as to why. 

"The bike balance is quite different to what we had during testing. Back to square one this weekend with a bike we know should work. We need to try and be more competitive. 

"We’ll forget last weekend, we want to be strong this weekend whether it’s wet, dry, windy, whatever. 

"I think we have a good chance this weekend to fight for the podium. Our target is much more than that. I want to win a race and get my season off to a proper start."

While fast at times in Phillip Island, consistency was one of the areas Rea lamented following Race 2.

Another problem that resurfaced was a lack of performance when track conditions ramped up during the final race of the weekend, something Rea and Kawasaki failed to get on top of last season. 

Jonathan Rea , Race 2 Australian WorldSBK, 27 February
Jonathan Rea , Race 2 Australian WorldSBK, 27 February

Rea added: "We were fast in certain areas but consistently not good enough. We really struggled with setup and some different factors out there, like when the wind changed, tyre temperatures went up on Friday. 

"There’s been some areas where it’s been incredible. I was really strong in FP3. Hard to put it all together to understand where we fell short. 

"Clearly, in the races we didn’t quite nail the setup. We were miles off at the end of the race. Even after looking after my tyre, using short lines, doing everything I could with my experience to manage the race, I was still nowhere. 

"We dropped off a cliff at the end, it’s really frustrating. I have to take some responsibility because it’s the direction we’ve been going from Monday. 

"The crew have to take some responsibility but that’s led by me, my direction and my feedback. Bit of a look in the mirror to try and understand why we struggled so much."

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